August 20, 2013

Doing business just got easier in South Africa. In an effort to help streamline the process of registering a company, South Africa’s First National Bank and Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) on Monday unveiled a new initiative that enables South African entrepreneurs to register a new business and open a corporate bank account through FNB’s online platform at no additional charge than the CIPC’s fees.

Speaking at a launch ceremony yesterday in Johannesburg, Rob Davies, South Africa Minister of Trade and Industry, described the partnership initiative as “a public-private partnership in the true sense of the term, where government and the bank partnered to offer its different products to their mutual customer through an integrated process.”

The FNB-CIPC partnership is one of a number of initiatives that are being implemented to reduce red tape for small, medium and micro enterprises in South Africa and to promote efficiencies for end-users.

The bank and agency said they have been collaborating for the past 18 months on developing innovative approaches like this “with the express aim of easing the administrative burden businesses currently faced.”

“The process is instantaneous and will reduce red tape, improve service delivery…and will improve the integrity of the register, as well as reduce the turnaround time, which is dependent on the speed at which the entrepreneur provides the bank with its ‘know your customer’ documentation and payment for the service,” said Astrid Ludin CIPC commissioner.

This innovative partnership is a first in South Africa and will benefit big and small businesses in many ways as it will allow business clients to “focus on their core functions instead of getting bogged down in time-consuming administrative and compliance responsibilities.”

“SMMEs are important for our economy,” said Sanjeev Orie, head of products for FNB Business Banking. “The vast majority of business owners, whether they are starting up a new company or expanding an existing one, need practical support, guidance and assistance in the administrative, compliance and day-to-day operational function of their companies.”

The CIPC will rely on FNB to conduct identity verification and confirm residential information prior to registration of an enterprise, as required by the Companies Act and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act. As soon as this is done, applicants’ data will be sent to the CIPC for validation. Once the data is validated and the customer registered with the CIPC, payment will take place.

Entrepreneurs will be charged the exact fee of R125 for a company registration, excluding the name reservation, as outlined in the regulations of the Companies Act, and the process is practically instantaneous with no need for mailing documents, standing in queues or waiting weeks for certificates.

The CIPC is a public agency reporting to the Department of Trade and Industry.